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Our birth story begins a few days before the birth when my blood pressure began to rise and our midwife wanted me induced for early symptoms of pre-eclampsia. The following is very long, but I wanted to record as much of it as I could.<br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Induction</span><br><br>
The whole pregnancy was fantastic without a single health issue. For the last two months of the pregnancy, I had trace protein in my urine and minimal swelling in my ankles. My BP was always low (100/60) before pregnancy, but throughout the pregnancy I hovered around 110/75 or so. When I was 41+3 on 4/14, I went to our Birth Center for a BioPhysical Profile. The baby was a 10/10 on the BPP, and at all three of our Non-Stress Tests, she was perfect. However, on 4/14, my BP measured 130/90 three separate times. Even though the baby was doing great, our midwife was very concerned that with my rising BP along with the minor swelling and trace protein, and the fact that I was well over 40 weeks, that I needed to be induced that night.<br><br>
I cried my eyes out at the office because I had worked for the last nine months to avoid a hospital birth. I was devastated, but also realistic, and did not want to risk my baby's health, or my own. I did not bring my bag with us, and the bag wasn't packed for a hospital anyway, so we asked our MW if we could go home (about an hour away) to get my things and check into the hospital that evening. The MW reluctantly agreed.<br><br>
When we got home, I raced around packing. Just as we were about to leave, I realized that I had never done the belly cast. I'm a procrastinator, but I guess I figured that I still had time. I burst into tears since I knew that I would not have the chance now. My sweet and wonderful DH just said "what's another half an hour?" So we did the belly cast, and it was amazingly cathartic for me. I felt like I was getting closure to the pregnancy and that despite the circumstances, I was doing it on my terms.<br><br>
So we got to the hospital, and had urine/blood/liver function/ BP tests. Every single one came out totally normal. My MW still thought we should induce as she believed we had caught something early. I asked that we start with cervadil before using pitocin, so that evening my MW inserted the cervadil, and the downward spiral began. Because I was being induced, the hospital's policy was to have constant fetal monitoring. So I was hooked up to the monitor and tried to go to sleep. Unfortunately, due to the baby's position, it was really hard to find her heartbeat, and so every time I moved, the nurse had to come back in to try to reposition the sensor. As you might imagine, this was kind of a problem for me since I was getting up every 45 minutes or so to pee, and then when I climbed back into bed, a nurse would come in and spend 15-20 minutes trying to find the baby's heartbeat. At 2AM I hadn't slept at all, and finally agreed to take an ambien. This was a hard decision for me since during the pregnancy I had not taken a single tylenol or tums. I hated the idea of taking a sleeping pill, but I also realized that I would need my energy to labor the next day.<br><br>
I woke up to a very slight cervical change - 80% effaced 2cm dilated. I wanted some time to just walk and see if labor would start, and although minor contractions continued, they didn't really do much and so several hours later, I was still 2cm. The midwife REALLY wanted to start pit and just get things going. I felt backed in a corner like I had no other options so I agreed, and the pit started. I was very unhappy at this point, but it got worse a few minutes later. I requested a telemetry monitor so that I could take advantage of the tub, and be able to walk around during labor. The problem with the telemetry monitor was that I could only use it if the nurse could detect the baby's heartbeat on the sensor while I moved around, which of course she couldn't. So after 45 minutes of trying to get the baby's heartbeat while I was sitting and standing and lying on my side, it turned out that the only way the heartbeat could be monitored was with me flat on my back. I was totally and completely defeated. Everything I did NOT want was happening. I was hooked up to monitors basically strapped to a bed, not able to move, and being induced with pitocin. I knew my body wasn't ready for labor, and that if I was forced to labor flat on my back I wouldn't progress, and would likely end up needing a c-section.<br><br>
Thankfully, DH, seeing how crushed I was, spoke to the nurse and to the midwife, and somehow convinced them that since there was no longer a legitimate medical reason for the induction because I was not pre-eclamptic and I was not yet at 42weeks, we should really be permitted to just go home and see what happened over the weekend. I'm not sure how he worked that magic, but he did, and our MW actually agreed. Not only did he get the hospital to discharge us, but we were able to use the Birth Center until 4/18, when I reached 42 weeks. I was ecstatic and I was and am so so grateful to my husband for going to bat for me and believing in me in a way I don't think anyone else ever has. I am still convinced that if we had stayed at the hospital, I would have had a c-section for failure to progress.<br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Labor and Delivery!</span><br><br>
We went home on 4/15 after we backed out of the induction. MW wanted us to return on 4/16 for another blood test, and also to do a 24hr urine collection, which we gladly agreed to, after all, if there was any legitimate health concern, I certainly was not going to fight being in the hospital. So we went back on 4/16 and the blood test and urine sample were both totally normal. My BP was still a bit high, but lower than it was on 4/14, so MW told us to go home and that if I was not in "booming labor" by 7PM Sunday (which was 42 weeks) she wanted me back at the hospital to follow through with the induction. I agreed, knowing that I would not be showing up for that, and hoping that I would be in labor by then. DH and I started considering what we would do if I refused the induction and needed to search for a new practice. After a few phone calls, we realized we really didn't have any other options, so we just hoped for the best. Fortunately, the induction was not necessary.<br><br>
I hadn't had any contractions at all other than those generated by the induction, so I was scared that I would not go into labor naturally by 4/18. However, on Friday 4/16, I lost my mucous plug and I had a feeling it would happen by the end of the weekend. I was right. That night, on Saturday 4/17 at 2:30AM, I woke up to very powerful contractions every 7 minutes. I tried to sleep in between them, but couldn't because they were just too intense and I had to get on my hands and knees to work through them. I figured that they would speed up soon and I would be on my way to the Birth Center by early afternoon. Nope. The contractions didn't get closer together than 7 minutes for more than 16 hours. From about 5AM on, I couldn't talk through them and I mostly needed to be on my hands and knees for every contraction because that was the only position that made them manageable. DH and I walked in the rain, I took a bath, I bounced on the ball, and nothing seemed to speed the contractions up at all. Had I known it would take so long (the though never crossed my mind it would take 16 hours for contractions to be less than 4 minutes apart) I would have taken another ambien or two and slept as long as possible.<br><br>
At 6:30PM, my water broke and my contractions FINALLY started coming every 3.5 minutes. We left for the birth center at about 7:30 since it was an hour away. I don't remember the trip to the Birth Center, but I directed most of my attention on timing the contractions and telling myself, "only 20 more exits," "only 10 more exits," "almost there." Not a fun ride, but we made it.<br><br>
When we got to the birth center it was about 8:30PM on Saturday 4/17 and I was a stretchy 5cm, which was pretty disappointing since I had been 3cm the day before - after 18 hours of slamming labor, I had only dilated 2cm. When we arrived at the birth center our MW wanted me to walk around a bit before admitting me, so DH and I first went to get coffee for him, our MW, and the student MW. Dunkin Donuts was a 3 minute drive from the Birth Center, but I screamed at DH to pull over at least 2 times since I was contracting. When we got back to the Birth Center, I didn't really feel capable of walking around outside, and just wanted to get into the tub, so our MW admitted me. It was somewhere around 10PM when I was finally admitted, and our MW was estimating a birth within the next six hours. Luckily, my blood pressure was still in the high normal range and so the Birth Center birth was still on.<br><br>
I labored in the tub, in the shower, on the birth stool, on the toilet, on the birth ball, and on the bed over the next six hours. The tub was wonderfully relaxing, and definitely helped with the pain, but outside of the tub, the contractions continued to be very intense. Because the labor seemed to be dragging on, the student MW performed a lot of vaginal exams. I think next time I will refuse them unless there is a real necessity for them because they HURT!!! And every time the MW did an exam, she triggered a super absurdly powerful contraction, and I would be flat on my back in the worst possible position to cope with it. At one point I was nauseous and vomited. One thing that surprised me was that the pain was all in my rectum. It felt like the baby wanted to come out my anus instead of my vagina.<br><br>
From 8:30PM until 4AM, I made it from 5cm to 8cm, but by 4AM Sunday 4/18, I had only had 2 hours of sleep in over two days, and I had been under fairly intense stress for the last four days. I was totally out of energy. At 4AM, I decided to give it one last shot to get to 10cm - I ate a bowl of the birth soup (super high protein and carb) that DH made for me, and I labored silently on the toilet while directing all of my energy inward. After close to an hour of giving it everything I had, I was still 8cm, and hadn't made any further progress at all.<br><br>
At that point, I was so physically and emotionally exhausted that I pretty much lost it. I could no longer cope with the pain, which had turned into excruciating back labor that only felt manageable with intense counter pressure (which was strange because the baby had not been posterior and I'm still not sure she ever was since she wasn't born sunny side up). My poor DH was in pain from putting counter-pressure on my back for hours and hours (I screamed for more pressure no matter how much he put on, so he was putting his whole body into it). I couldn't focus my energy anywhere but the pain, and started screaming through contractions, which I had not done since labor began. I knew that my body couldn't take any more since I still had 2cm to dilate AND I would have to push. I needed sleep more than anything in the world, so I sadly let go of my Birth Center birth in favor of an epidural and a safe vaginal delivery at the hospital across the street.<br><br>
I made the call to transfer at around 5AM on Sunday 4/18 and within half an hour I was in a hospital bed waiting for an epidural. Unfortunately, the anesthesiologist was doing a c-section, and apparently would not be available for some time. I screamed "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE [email protected]#ING KIDDING ME" and I was screaming so loud during my contractions that someone decided it was very important to get me some pain relief. About 3 minutes after I started yelling, the anesthesiologist was in the room getting the epidural set up. (Some poor resident got pulled out of bed to finish the c-section). I had been so afraid of a needle in my back and I must say, it didn't matter in the slightest at that point. When the spinal kicked in (I had a combination spinal block/epidural) about 2 minutes later, it was probably the best feeling I have had in my entire life. The pain was completely gone. I could feel a bit of pressure, but the pain just went away and I felt my body relax in a way that I don't think it had since I woke up 27 hours before.<br><br>
Once I was hooked up to the monitor (previously we had only used a doppler) we learned that my contractions were "coupling," or basically coming right on top of each other with hardly any break. That helped to explain the extreme pain I was experiencing, unfortunately, the contractions did not appear to be strong enough to get me fully dilated on their own, which explained why I had only dilated 5cm in 28 hours, so I agreed to pitocin. Then the most amazing and beautiful thing happened - DH and I fell asleep for about five hours. When we woke, I was fully dilated and it was time to push.<br><br>
To my shock though, I woke up feeling every contraction. As it turned out, the spinal had worn off, but thankfully as soon as I pressed the little red button (I didn't even know it was there) the spinal took effect again and I was again pain free. I was still totally exhausted though, and apparently I did not know how to push. The student MW had her hands in my vagina, which I found to be horribly distracting and I yelled at her to get her hands out of there. I guess I wasn't pushing effectively and our MW decided that I needed to sleep longer since I was kind of out of it and yelling at the midwives, so they let me "labor down" and go back to sleep for another two hours. When I woke at noon on Sunday 4/18, I felt like a new person. My head was clear and I was ready to finish what had started a day and a half ago.<br><br>
After two hours of pushing, our sweet Finley Rose was born. Even with the epidural, I could feel the pressure of contractions, and no one had to tell me when to push. I also got the hang of it after a few minutes and it felt good to push into the pressure. I'm thankful I was able to feel what was happening through the epidural. I did push on my back, which I was hoping to avoid, but it worked, so I'm not complaining. DH held up my left leg and the nurse held up the other. An hour and forty-five minutes in, I asked how close I was, and the MW told me she could see like a dime of the baby's head - that was discouraging since I thought I would be pushing another two hours. Turns out I was wrong, it took less 15 minutes from that point.<br><br>
She weighed 8lbs. even, and was 19.75 inches long. She did not look like a post-dates baby AT ALL. She wasn't wrinkled, and still had some vernix on her back. The only indication that she was a bit overdue was that she had ridiculously long fingernails. The most amazing moment of the whole birth was about 1 minute before she was born; everyone in the room stopped what they were doing and scrambled to get their robes on and set up tables and trays near me. Until then, I swear I didn't believe she was ever going to be born. I mean seriously, I was 42 weeks pregnant, and the labor had lasted 36 hours. But it was that moment that DH and I both realized that our baby was really coming now!<br><br>
Shortly before she crowned, the fluid started to show some very light meconium staining, so as soon as she was born NICU examined her quickly, but she was back on my chest within no more than 3 minutes. DH was able to catch her and cut the cord, and while we wanted to delay the cord clamping until after it stopped pulsing, I had no objection to cutting it earlier to ensure that her airway was clear of meconium. Fin's APGAR score was 9/9, and she cried immediately. What a sweet sound! Then, as soon as the NICU was done with her, she was laid on my chest for the breastcrawl and extended skin to skin. She did crawl, although she didn't quite make it to the nipple. But she was SO alert! I had been avoiding any type of pain relief partly because I was afraid that it might have a negative effect on my baby's awareness at birth. That was definitely not the case. Fin did not receive a bath until after she spent the first 1 1/2 hours of her life on my chest, and when she got her first bath, it was DH who washed her.<br><br>
The placenta was delivered in what seems like less than a minute. I'm not sure if that's possible, but that's what it felt like. I had a large number of first degree tears, one second degree tear, and at least one internal tear, so it took my MW and the student MW about an hour and a half to stitch me up. Fin was on my chest the entire time. We stayed at the hospital for two days, and in retrospect, it was SO great to have that buffer. The nurses were all totally amazing and supportive. No one ever took Fin out of our sight, and no one questioned our decisions not to give her the erythromyacin (sp?) or the Hep B vac. I was in pretty rough shape after the 36 hour labor and lots of tearing, so having people there to check in on me every couple of hours was actually very reassuring.<br><br>
It was not the birth that we had planned, but it was every bit as beautiful and joyous. Our sweet baby was safe and healthy, I was safe and healthy, and every step of the way, I was in control. No one pushed me into anything, and every single decision that had to be made was made by me and DH. None of it would have been possible though, without DH standing up for me and backing us out of an unnecessary induction.<br><br>
Incredibly, what I was told about labor amnesia has been totally true for me - only one day after the birth I was already starting to forget things. At this point a month later, I absolutely cannot remember the pain (yay!) and I am actually kind of looking forward to being pregnant again soon (well, in a year and a half anyway)! I will definitely do it the same way - a natural Birth Center birth with no epidural. I labored 27 hours medication free, and had Fin joined us a bit earlier, I know I would not have needed pain relief - I really only needed it to sleep. Breastfeeding is going beautifully after a rocky start, and although Fin is definitely a high needs baby, I love every minute of being a mom.
 

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What a great story! Thank you for sharing. I love her name!! Enjoy your babymoon <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 

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A lovely example of how a transfer can be a good thing. Congrats!
 

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Wow, I am SOOO impressed with your dh for putting his foot down about the induction! Of course, I am even more impressed with how you handled a long labor and ultimately triumphantly brought your baby into the world.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/joy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="joy">
 
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